It wasn’t a night of glitz and glamour on the boardwalk or the finals of the Dancing with the Stars. It wasn’t even the final show of American Idol. It was the Distinguished Gentleman’s Awards presented by the Optimist Club of St John’s in celebration of its Youth Appreciation project.
Twelve young males were the stars who came out to shine. They came from Princess Margaret Secondary, St Joseph’s Academy and the Clare Hall Secondary schools and they were awarded in areas of service, sports, the arts and academics.
Service awards were given to Jamal Philip, Deondre Wilkins and Joel Thomas; Sports awardees were Cejhae Greene, Vanroy Lloyd and Tahir Walsh while recognition in the Arts was given to Malique Marsh, Kellon Durant and Lincoln Burton. To top it all off were the Academics awards given to Tevin Knowles, Akeil Whyte and Damien Zriebe, who is presently in medical school but was represented by his father.
The young men were named ‘distinguished gentlemen’ because of their various accomplishments and were encouraged by President Karen Harris-Quinland to always be shining stars to their peers, family and their communities amidst the stigma which has been associated with young males within the society.
One recipient remarked, “This award means so much to me.” Heartfelt thanks to Vernon Quinland and FedEx who sponsored the trophies awarded.
The motto of the Optimist Club is “friend of youth” and the Caribbean District theme this year is “Hands Across the Caribbean — Helping Children to Shine.”